Category Archives: love

our loving ancestors

3-gogo-and-the-ancestors-marietjie-henningphoto by marietjie hemming

I like to think our ancestors are rooting us on through life.

There’s a mindfulness practice at Blue Cliff Monastery called touching the earth where we place our palms in front of our chests in the shape of a lotus bud and slowly lower ourselves to the ground so that our four limbs and forehead gently press against the floor. We bow deeply and return to the earth and our roots, connecting with our spiritual and blood ancestors. We know that we can never be alone as we are always surrounded by love, by divine beings who only want the best for us, by the earth. We touch the earth and reconnect with each bow to all of that life and recognize that we make up the earth and life and can never be separate. We are all connected.

Breathing in, I breathe in the earth. I breathe in connection. I breathe in life, strength, stability, love, nurturing, protection. Breathing out, I breathe out separation. I breathe out suffering. I breathe out anger, fear, shame, sorrow, grief.

I wonder if each time we engage in a healing practice like meditation or yoga, are we touching our ancestors? In engaging in the practice and connecting deeper with ourselves or transforming an area of suffering, are we also lessening the suffering in that whole ancestry chain? If we release a story steeped in limitation and inadequacy that we used to cling to, do we release suffering in our whole ancestry line? Is our growth a shining light of hope and pride to them?

 

 

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background image by carolyn doe
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holding & letting go

2012 8 17 023photo by bernideen

:)

I have a love to garden deep in my roots.
I breathe in flowers sacredly tended to by divine mothers
hoping they blossom throughout this lifetime.

I wake up unexpectedly sometimes
during that late-night, early morning space
where my dreams seem both near and far
and words that don’t speak flow within me
if I just stay awake a little longer
and press my senses gently
against my soul to hear them.

Tonight there was a melody of rain and crickets
just outside my window and I decided to stay
and listen. My hand reached outside the window
to both embrace and release the rain drops in my palm
interchangeably, and I wondered if this is what I should
be doing with each moment here:
both holding and letting go.

 


love our darkness & our light

“Until we have seen someone’s darkness, we don’t really know who they are. Until we have forgiven someone’s darkness, we don’t really know what love is.” — Marianne Williamson

 

Love has to include both darkness and light or else I don’t really believe that it is love. I don’t believe in a love that is conditional or partial or I love this part of you but not this part. I know that the kind of love that I am looking to give and receive from others as well as from myself is the kind that can love it all.

When I found myself in a relationship where my partner could not be present in my moments of sadness and could not love the parts of me that were a masterpiece in progress but instead put those parts down when he became frustrated, I found myself able to find the courage to leave the relationship because I knew that our love for each could never be complete. I would have to hide my darkness from him and he would try to pretend to love parts of me that he really couldn’t stomach. As a result, I looked into my relationship with myself to explore what would allow me to attract that type of a relationship with another. What areas of darkness within myself was I having difficulty embracing and nurturing? What mistakes from my past was I unable to forgive and put beyond me? I sat with the revelations that came up and found ways to cultivate more loving kindness to those areas as they seemed in great need of love and attention.

 

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I want a love that is whole and complete and includes every part of myself and the other person. That is the type of love I try to give myself each day.

Be (with) someone who can treat even your most wounded and darkest places with loving kindness.

 

 


my home of love

Find me where I am most wounded. Love me there. Love me whole. Love me safe. Love me loved. Come home and let me love you.

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I love myself.  I love the parts of myself that only dreamed about love. I love the parts told that no one would ever love us when we were little. I love the parts of myself covered in full protective gear who said they couldn’t go on much longer constantly being attacked with insult and insult from me. I love myself without end and it hums within me in places that had lost their will to speak. I love myself and light seems to beckon me home to love.

I am here with you.  I am here with you.  I am here with you, I say to myself in a gentle lullaby. I will always keep you safe.

I have been waiting for this my whole life, I whisper back in wonder.

I am home and I am in love.

I am home and I am at peace.

I am home and I am healed.

I love myself, the three most powerful words we often never tell ourselves. I started to tell myself those words every day, multiple times per day, and one day I started to believe it and the hurts of the past crumbled at my feet.

 

 


Mind, Body, and Soul Nourishment

The garden is a refuge, a place of quiet contemplation, a source of nourishment for mind and body alike. — Dean Pailler

My garden is nature, books, love, laughter, fruits and vegetables, and coconut milk ice cream. It’s writing and yoga and the vibrant life intermixed with the sounds of vibrant silence. I nourish myself with these things daily.

photo by Konejita.

Do you feel nourished in your life, work, and love? Is nourishment something you seek on a daily basis? How do you nourish yourself? Nourishment to me, consists of incorporating elements of mindfulness, love, compassion, and peace throughout my day.

I have had a lot of moments of sadness in the past couple of weeks yet I have still been able to keep myself nourished. It’s a matter of practice. If we breathe deeply in yoga class and it becomes an integral part of our practice, then we can breathe deeply in moments of stress when in the past we would have been more likely to shut down or attack. If we nourish ourselves in the moments of joy, then we can do it in the moments of sadness.

There is always joy in every moment of sadness and the key is to find it. It’s embedded in acceptance, surrender, and love. When we accept our current situation, we can use it as a tool or anchor on our path rather than becoming a victim on our own path. We gain the control in our lives and manifest our dreams when we are the love and happiness we seek in life because we know that this hardship, this challenge will pass, but we have an unconditional faith and love in ourselves that is always present.

So even if you hate your job, you do not feed yourself that hate by focusing on that, you focus on all that you are grateful for that this job allows instead. You allow a path to be created each day through that gratitude that brings you closer to the career you are seeking. The same is true for people we find ourselves hating as well. Create boundaries, spend less time with the person, and have no expectations or attachments to a certain outcome where that person is concerned. We can let these situations limit us or we can let them teach us areas where we need to let go a little more and let more love into our lives. Love is the only thing that will lead us to more love in our lives.

Believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it.
— Rainer Maria Rilke

Create this love in your life. Feel this love for yourself and let it be unconditional regardless of your perception of yourself or of your life.  Let this love be a constant that inspires and nourishes you. Let it create a spirit of limitlessness in your life where your obstacles become your stepping stones and where your enemies become your teachers.

— lissa


letting go is love

If you want to be… let go.

Letting go is not getting rid of. Letting go is letting be… In the end, we discover that to love and let go are the same thing. Both ways do not seek to possess. — Jack Kornfield

***

My old apartment had a spot on the living room floor that radiated warmth. It probably was in close proximity to a radiator in the apartment below mine, but I liked to think that it existed for the sheer pleasure of my feet’s touch.

I would trace my feet along its boundaries, feel the divide between warmth and cold, and wonder if it was a love story meant for only a few tiles to share. It didn’t matter that the whole room wanted to be loved. I wanted to be loved.

Every time I rediscovered it, it put my entire body at ease. Sometimes, I would lay my whole body on the floor. The warmth could hold my hands, cheek, chest, and the beginning inches of my waist all at once.

I would curl my body as tightly into the fetal position as I could and try to contain the warmth. Slowly, my body would start to shake. It was time to let go, and this fact never changed no matter how much I struggled. It always escaped me too soon, and the cold would run up my spine like a shiver.

***

To say the least, letting go is just something I did not do up until about five years ago. I carried every negative, shameful event and feeling that I could with me. It’s no wonder that so many parts of my body are so tight. I wrapped my story, the sad one that I would not let go of, into my hips, my hamstrings, my trapezius, anywhere I could fit it. This is one of the main reasons I don’t get discouraged with my limited flexibility in many poses. I know that those areas of tightness are old wounds, old sadness. I’m not going to force myself deeper into poses to get rid of them. I’m going to be patient and let yoga be a form of love for my present, past, and future and offer love, offer forgiveness, and offer acceptance in the form of my breath.

One of the things that I am most thankful for in my yoga practice is the lessons it has taught me in letting go. I feel like each exhale, each time I smile when I fall out of a pose, each time I close my eyes in a balance pose is a road map straight into the heart of letting go. My yoga practice has made me very aware of the things that I carry and the things I can let go of.

Letting go doesn’t mean losing or giving up. It’s a form of healing  and forgiveness. It’s a form of love and it creates space for more love.

What are some things that you do to let go?

–lissa

photo by Walkabout Wolf.

What is YIOM?


Love until all we are is love…

If we are to reach real people in this world… we shall go from love to love and peace to peace until at last all the corners of the world are covered with that peace and love for which consciously or unconsciously the whole world is hungering. — Gandhi

Is the whole world simply longing for peace and love? How do we go about covering the world with peace and love? Should it start with each individual? If each person had a strong sense of love and peace in the world within them than surely this, in turn, would create a different world around them.

Let’s start small big with you and me. Let’s do something to claim our peace and love today. Things we can do:

1. Read inspiring quotes like this one:

My love, he is here inside. He does not leave, He doesn’t need to arrive. — Mirabai.

Know that you never have to go far to feel love. All you have to do is go within.

2-6. Sing. Dance. Sweat. Laugh. Be creative.

7. Write:

I want a peace poem to exist within the spaces between our breath. I want our love to merge into a living breathing artform and our insides to vibrate sonnet-like love. I want to love until all we are is love…

I want to tag the moon and have it play chase with me all night. Imagine what the moon must feel like: majestic velvet expansiveness.  I want to be that. I want to lean into the moon, the trees, the beauty surrounding me and find out their secret. How are you happy? Why are you glowing when there is so much loss all around you and embedding you? Maybe they would whisper back, it’s simple, my love. Let go and love.


 

8. Release something holding you back: judgments, fears, emotions, the past.

I’ve learned that even when I feel sad, I don’t have to become sad.

Honor who you are in each moment. Be aware of how you feel but know that your emotions, fears, and judgments are not you. Emotions are meant to fluctuate and change. Observe them, recognize them, validate them, and then let them go. Meditation is the best tool to use to develop this process of awareness and surrendering.

If you would like to learn more about this, check out an enlightening article by Sally Kempton about letting go of sadness.

9. Pay yourself compliments often. Treat yourself to something you love whether that’s silence, a sports game, music, dessert, company, nature… Reward yourself every day with little things for the little things are in actuality the big things.

10. Practice Yoga. To truly embrace love, we need to know that sometimes, most of the time actually, our heart needs to lead the way. We need to trust that our heart is strong enough to stay open in the face of love as well as the opposites of love. You cannot protect yourself from fear/rejection/hate/abandonment without protecting yourself from love too. We think we’re safer by closing up when, in reality, the more open we are, the less we suffer. That is because being open indicates the practice of letting go and letting go is love.

If I’m feeling blocked and want to create the space to open up a part of me that is closed, I’ll come onto my mat and come into either a supported setu bandha sarvanagasana/bridge pose (block under my sacrum) or a supported matsyasana/fish pose (block long ways between my shoulder blades and another block under the bottom of my head; option: not to have the block under the head if no neck issues) and breathe through the space where I feel closed. A mantra you can use is a beautiful one I saw on @GaneshBaba’s twitter page: “Breathe in abundance; breathe out surrender.”

11. Help others.

–lissa

top photo: by ilsebatten.

bottom photo by risquillo.

What is YIOM?